Possibility of BLE Strike

Brothers and Sisters,

I have fielded alot of questions concerning the BLE strike authorization vote. It was reported yesterday that the authorization came in at 97%.

Locomotive engineers would walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 7, 2011, unless President Obama intervenes and appoints a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB). A PEB would halt any strike or lockout by the parties, and would investigate and issue a report and recommendations concerning the dispute.

As background, the National Mediation Board released the BLE and 10 other Rail Labor unions from mediation with the rail carriers on September 6, creating a 30-day cooling off period, which expires at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 7, 2011. At that point self-help is available to the parties, which means the BLE and/or any of the other unions could go on strike.

I fully expect President Obama to appoint a PEB prior to the BLE being able to strike, but in the off-chance that does not happen we need to be prepared. Be sure to communicate with your membership that we DO NOT cross picket lines! We will stand with the BLE should they choose to strike.

Even though the strike, if it should happen, would only last a few hours do not accept a call to work. The railroad should not attempt to force you to go to work, but if they do, simply state that with the BLE on strike you fear for your safety and will not work during the strike. If you are on a train or deadhead, complete your trip and then tie up and go home. If you are at the away from home terminal, the railroad should arrange transportation to your home terminal.

As always, feel free to call with any questions. Most importantly, share this communication with your co-workers so that no issues arise.

In brotherhood,

Jason Boswell
General Chairman
UTU GO-687